Back to the bones

I just want to be with her.  Hikes, explores, photos, projects galore (more on this later), I can’t get enough of her.  I stop and stare to catch my breath, and sometimes I just can’t believe this beauty.

Alone on the mountain, just me and my dog, we walk to Brewster Park, up along the Rio Grande, the back route, the horse trail.  No one has set foot on her bare ground since autumn.  I want to be by the river, wild and untouched.  Hear the rush like blood through my veins.  Enriching, reviving.  Soul food.

There, I am fed, drunk, giddy. Intoxicated by a river.

We walk back along the dirt road and there we find the pile of bones.

A cow, probably a bull.  It is big. Was. Slung on the side on the mountain.  Stripped clean by coyotes, crows and snow.

It’s harsh to see.  It’s harsh to think about.

For I think about this:  someone may have found a pile of bones years ago from the bull I left for lost in the mountains of northern California.  And I cringed to think I could have done this.  My ignorance, foolishness, selfishness.

Yet this bull here, perhaps I could have saved had I stayed here for the winter.  We would have found him earlier in the season on one of our inevitable explores up river.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.    I’m glad I wasn’t.  Leaving was the best thing we could have done at the time.  But…

There are few regrets for having our winter away.

One more.  Minor in comparison.  Damaging only a hidden hillside in the trees as the first of the spring run off floods and silts up our little water diversion that feeds our “spring.”  Early season run off is muddy, silty, fast and furious.  It’s not what you want running in your ditch. Yet someone unaware of the ways of the mountain seemed to think it would be just thing to have feed our ditch, and diverted the full head of water our way last fall.

Here at least I can clean up from someone else’s ignorance.

The price we pay for a winter away.  The mountain sighs indifferently as spring winds chill over the Divide and stir up the dried grasses and leafless Aspen.  Only I am troubled.